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Our Conservation Milestones

In 1983, when GLT conservation efforts began in Brazil, only a few hundred tamarins were thought to live in the wild, no conservation ethic existed in the region, deforestation was rampant and illegal capture of GLTs was common. Since then the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) has made great strides in saving GLTs from extinction.  Here are a few examples:

1983: Monitoring of 8-15 family groups of wild GLTs in the forest began and continues to today.  This information forms the scientific basis for AMLD’s conservation work.

1984-2000: 146 zoo-born GLTs were reintroduced into privately owned forests in Rio.  Their descendants now are about 25% of the wild population. Over 40 landowners now participate in this program and conserve their forests.

1992: Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD; “Golden Lion Tamarin Association”), a Brazilian nongovernmental organization was created to conduct and coordinate efforts to save GLTs from extinction.

1994-1998: 42 GLTs were rescued from threatened forests and translocated to what would become União Biological Reserve.  These GLTs and their descendants soon occupied the entire reserve.

1998: With AMLD’s help, the Brazilian government created the 3,200-hectare União Biological Reserve.

2000: 1,000 GLTs are estimated to live in forest fragments in Rio de Janeiro. 

2002: GLTs are recognized nationally as a symbol of Brazil's Atlantic Forest.  The GLT was chosen by Brazil’s Central Bank to adorn the R$20 currency bill.

2003: IUCN upgraded the conservation status of GLTs from “critically endangered” to “endangered”. 

2005: 1,600 GLTs were estimated to live in forest fragments in Rio de Janeiro.

2013: A total of 112 educators have been trained by AMLD and are developing conservation actions with local schools and communities.

2013: AMLD has planted a total of 204 hectares (504 acres) with native tree species that form corridors connecting forest fragments and expand future tamarin habitat.

2013:  AMLD helped local landowners to create seven commercial tree nurseries.  These nurseries sold AMLD 778,233 native tree seedlings for use in reforestation, thus increasing sustainable and forest-friendly income in the community.

2014: 13,072 hectares of forest are permanently protected by 2 federal biological reserves, a state park and 22 private reserves—the greatest number of private reserves for any Brazilian municipality and all were created with AMLD’s help. 

2014: AMLD censused GLTs throughout the species’ current geographic range.  3,200 GLTs - double the previous estimate – are living in four separate forest fragments.  Experts in the biology of small populations agree that under current conditions, this number of these tiny primates, if living in a single block of forest, would be sufficient to save the species from extinction.  AMLD’s top priority is now to work with the landowners and local communities to plant and protect forest corridors to connect these four forest fragments.